Can you teach me people management?
Meister Consulting is a personnel consultancy for fashion, sport and lifestyle based on Lake Starnberg near Munich. The team of industry experts has in-depth and many years of know-how and occupies specialist and management positions in retail and the branding industry. It also advises companies in the fashion industry on the search for talent and coaches candidates for the next step in their careers. FashionUnited spoke to Bernd Meister, the owner and founder, about the current job market, the new priorities of candidates and what companies can do better in terms of people management.
How do you currently assess the job market in the fashion industry?
Most companies are currently more reluctant to hire new employees, on the one hand because they cannot assess what is in store for them and on the other hand because some still have short-time working. But there are also companies that have come through the crisis better than initially assumed. Some, I believe, are also using the crisis as an opportunity to break away from a few habits that were long overdue. In general, driving is currently more on sight because the issues have become more unpredictable.
Due to the corona crisis, the focus has shifted further to e-commerce, have you noticed an increased demand for skilled workers here? What is particularly sought?
E-commerce is now an issue everywhere, of course. Developing the right online or multichannel strategy for the company has become even more important in the corona crisis. One focus here is on good CRM specialists: Many companies are now thinking about how they can best pick up their customers and better organize the many different digital touchpoints in the interests of their brand. The demand for good content experts who are good at staging exciting stories is also increasing. In the digital area, we are also seeing a higher degree of openness towards lateral entrants from other innovative industry segments, especially if they have strong technical know-how.
What advice do you give young professionals in the current situation?
I would advise you not only to be on the main street of the big names in the industry. But also to look right and left in the side streets. To ask yourself: Where can I find interesting challenges that I can grow and learn from? That can sometimes be more exciting, like the image of a company that is perceived from the outside. It is important to reflect well on yourself, to look at the possibilities openly and with a high willingness to learn.
What questions do career counselors ask you most often?
Candidates are increasingly questioning the purpose of the company to which they are applying. And again and again I notice that companies can only answer this question to a limited extent for me. Being able to clearly communicate the values and goals is a real added value when competing for good talent.
What mistakes should a company avoid when filling a position?
When it comes to a biography, many companies still look too closely at a candidate's previous experience. Sometimes the potentials and talents are simply not adequately highlighted here. It is an invaluable advantage when it comes to getting employees into their personal flow zone. Because in this they grow beyond themselves and show outstanding performance. Hence my advice to companies: Talk more about the mindset of the candidates and what ideas they have on certain issues. How they see developments and in which subject areas they can best use their creativity. You will be surprised at what you can find out.
What are the differences between male and female candidates?
There is no general answer to that. If so, then perhaps that women ask more often about the working atmosphere and home office opportunities in a potential company; Men are a little more focused on the ability to influence and the power of the position. But that's very simplified. It has less to do with men or women, but is type-dependent.
What is your advice to someone who feels they are stuck in their job or on the corporate ladder?
Stopping the bike, listening to your inner self, thinking outside the box and considering what should change in the future. Approaching your company proactively with ideas. And if you encounter deafness here, to be consistently open to new paths. Because in the end you can only change yourself and your point of view, not the other!
Among other things, you offer a "conversation at the lake" on your website. Let's play mouse: What are the most important takeaways for a conversation at the lake with you?
Yes, the offer is particularly nice and people actually like to ask for them. We are lucky that Lake Starnberg is so close. It is important to me that the candidate gets clarity about himself. I want to help people find new approaches. Often they are trapped in their way of thinking and look forward to inspiring input. It all starts with the question: What are you really good at and what do you really enjoy doing? Where and in which job could you best bring this to bear? This is often the starting point for an exciting conversation.
What makes people happy in their job?
If you manage to get into your personal flow zone with work. When work is not a burden but is perceived as joy. Sounds nice and always works if you can bring your ideas to the table and are valued in the process.
What changes do you hope for in the German fashion industry in the next few years?
We are actually in a really great industry! We spend the whole day making other people's lives more beautiful. To convey emotions and stories. So I would like companies to focus even more on people as a resource. Invest more in real and strong people management. Unfortunately, there is sometimes still a gap between demands and reality. To make more use of the talents and potential of employees and to ensure that they can develop more effectively. Because, in addition to beautiful products, it is in particular the connections to people that make a company tangible and unique.Photo: Meister Consulting
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